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The Role of the United Nations in Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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The Role of the United Nations in Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Role of the United Nations in Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Renata Christha Auli, S.H.Si Pokrol
Si Pokrol
Bacaan 10 Menit
The Role of the United Nations in Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

PERTANYAAN

What is the role of the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security? If it is related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, what is the role of the UN in resolving the Palestinian and Israeli cases?

DAFTAR ISI

    INTISARI JAWABAN

    In principle, the UN's involvement in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began with the issuance of UN General Assembly Resolution 181/1947, followed by other UN resolutions. However, until now the UN does not have strong power against Israel because the conflict between Palestine and Israel is still happening.

    So, do UN resolutions only have moral and political power, or are they binding on all members? What should be the role of the UN in efforts to resolve the armed conflict between Israel and Palestine?

    Please take a look at the review below for a further explanation.

    ULASAN LENGKAP

    This article is an English translation of Peran PBB dalam Menyelesaikan Konflik Israel-Palestina, written by Renata Christha Auli, S.H. and was published on Tuesday, 21 November 2023.

    All legal information available on Klinik hukumonline.com has been prepared for educational purposes only and is general in nature (read the complete Disclaimer). In order to obtain legal advice specific to your case, please consult with Justika Partner Consultant.

    Definition of the United Nations

    Before answering your question, we should first understand what the United Nations ("UN") means. Sumaryo Suryokusumo explains that the UN is the largest international organization in the history of the growth of cooperation of all nations in various sectors of international life. This organization has established its constitution through the main instrument in the form of the UN Charter, with the determination of all its members to avoid repeating the threat of world war that has happened twice.[1] Then, based on the List of UN Member States, there are 193 UN member states.

    The UN Charter has noble goals and principles, namely the international obligation of all states to:[2]

    1. Respect the sovereign equality of all nations;
    2. Not use threats or violence against the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of a country;
    3. Not interfere in the internal affairs of a country; and
    4. Seek to resolve disputes between states peacefully.

    Furthermore, the UN organization consists of the following main bodies:[3]

    Belajar Hukum Secara Online dari Pengajar Berkompeten Dengan Biaya TerjangkauMulai DariRp. 149.000
    1. General Assembly;
    2. Security Council;
    3. Economic and Social Council;
    4. Trusteeship Council;
    5. International Court of Justice/ “ICJ”.
    6. Secretariat.

    5 Principles in the UN Charter

    In relation to maintaining international peace and security, the UN has 5 principles in the UN Charter, including:[4]

    1. Principle to Settle International Disputes Peacefully

    This principle is contained in Article 2 section (3) jo. Chapters VI and VIII of the UN Charter. Essentially, the parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.[5]

    1. Principle of Not to Use Threats or Force

    This principle is reflected in Article 2 section (4) of the UN Charter. The provision in relation to UN practice contains 3 important aspects, namely:

    1. the meaning of "the threat or use of force";
    2. the limitations referred to in "international relations"; and
    3. under what conditions force may be used without violating the provisions of Article 2 section (4) of the UN Charter.

     

    1. Principle of Responsibility to Determine the Existence of Threats

    This principle is stipulated in Article 39 of the UN Charter. In addition to the responsibility of the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly also has the right to determine the existence of a threat in terms of calling the attention of the UN Security Council to a problem that could jeopardize peace and security[6] and urging the UN Security Council to impose sanctions.[7] In addition, the UN General Assembly can also make recommendations on measures that the UN Security Council might take.[8]

    1. Principle of Diversion for Armaments

    According to Article 26 of the UN Charter, in order to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world's human and economic resources, the Security Council shall be responsible for formulating, with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee referred to in Article 47, plans to be submitted to the Members of the United Nations for the establishment of a system for the regulation of armaments.

    1. General Principles on Cooperation in the Field of Maintenance and International Cooperation

    This principle is regulated in Article 11 section (1) of the UN Charter, which states that the General Assembly may consider the general principles of cooperation in the maintenance of international peace and security, including the principles governing disarmament and the regulation of armaments, and may make recommendations with regard to such principles to the Members or to the Security Council or to both.

    Resolutions of the UN Security Council and General Assembly

    Basically, United Nations resolutions are formal expressions of the opinion or will of the UN organs/bodies. In other words, UN resolutions are decisions made by UN bodies, which are intended for UN member states and also for other bodies within the UN.

    However, what about the decisions issued by the UN? Do they only have moral and political force, or are they binding on all members? To answer this question, we will explain the resolutions issued by the UN Security Council (“UNSC”) and the UN General Assembly (“UNGA”) which are considered to be the two important main bodies.[9]

    The binding force of UNSC resolutions is found in Article 25 of the UN Charter which states "The members of the United Nations agree to accept carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter", meaning that all UN member states agree to accept and carry out decisions made by the UN Security Council, so that resolutions issued by this body have legally binding force.[10]

    In the decision-making process in the form of a resolution, it must meet the requirements in accordance with Article 27 of the UN Charter to be valid and have legally binding force. In essence, a UN Security Council resolution in resolving an international dispute is valid if it has been approved by the votes of 9 UN Security Council member states including 5 Permanent Members or permanent member states of the UN Security Council without a veto from the 5 Permanent Members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States).[11] If one of the permanent member states of the UN Security Council issues a veto, the resolution is not enacted and has no legally binding force.[12]

    For information, UN Security Council resolutions are binding not only on UN member states, but also on non-member states as stipulated in Article 2 section (6) of the UN Charter.

    As for the decisions of the UN General Assembly, it is not clearly regulated in the charter. The decisions of the UN General Assembly, which are almost entirely set forth in resolutions, can essentially be divided into 3 groups as follows:[13]

    1. The first group is resolutions that contain calls, appeals, hopes, requests, and urges which are essentially only recommendations that have more moral and political power.
    2. The second group is resolutions concerning budgets that have implications for the obligation of members to pay contributions, decisions relating to the election of positions or membership in UN bodies, and resolutions relating to the acceptance of new membership.
    3. The third group is resolutions or declarations that contain a set of rules or principles in relation to international law, where the decision to do so is approved by the majority of member states.

    The Role of the United Nations in Efforts to Resolve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

    Answering your question, please note that the UN's involvement in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began with the issuance of UNGA Resolution 181/1947.[14] Then, there were other resolutions issued by the UN Security Council such as Resolution 388/1973, Resolution 1276, Resolution 1402, Resolution 2334, and others.

    Furthermore, the UN General Assembly has also issued resolutions in order to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including Resolution A/RES/ES-10/21, Resolution A/RES/77/208, Resolution A/RES/77/247, and others.

    From the various resolutions issued by the UN, it can be concluded that the UN has made various efforts in order to resolve the conflict between Palestine and Israel, but in reality, until now the UN does not have strong power against Israel because the conflict between Palestine and Israel is still happening and has not found a bright spot.[15]

    As we have explained, UN General Assembly resolutions in the form of appeals and calls do not have binding legal force and only have moral and political power. Resolutions are usually made by majority vote and no country has the right to veto. In addition, UN General Assembly resolutions cannot impose sanctions on Israel, because the resolutions issued are not binding (non-binding) or only express the wishes of the international community.[16]

    Meanwhile, the UN Security Council has failed several times to enforce resolutions condemning Israel's actions. The failure of the UN Security Council to enforce resolutions is solely due to the veto. Although a resolution proposed by the UN Security Council has the support of the majority of its members, if it is vetoed by one of the permanent member states, the resolution fails and has no binding legal force.[17]

    According to Dina Yulianti, a lecturer at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at Universitas Padjadjaran and an expert on international relations in the Middle East and Africa, one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council that uses the veto is the United States. Then, it is necessary to know the reasons why the interests of certain countries become obstacles to implementing resolutions, and why the United States always defends Israel by using the veto right. Basically, this is related to the US foreign policy doctrine that views Israel's security as equal to the security of the United States. Thus, financial, political, and weapons resources are given to Israel.

    So, who formulates US foreign policy? According to Robert Gilpin as quoted by Dina, there are 3 parties who dominate US foreign policy, namely:[18]

    1. Ultranationalist group, whose motive was to gain control of the oil reserves in the Middle East and elsewhere in the region in order to gain and sustain American global primacy.
    2. Neo-Conservatives group, who wants a radical restructuring of geopolitical relations in the area in order to promote the long-term security of Israel, or in other words, Israel's security is equal to the security of the United States.
    3. Evangelical Christians as the largest and most important group supporting the US administration and its policies towards the Middle East, especially the United States’ close ties to Israel. This highly motivated religious and increasingly political movement advocates a strong pro-Israeli US policy.[19]

    However, according to Liona Nanang Supriatna, a lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Universitas Katolik Parahyangan and an expert on international humanitarian law, it is important to underline that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a religious conflict, but a conflict over territory.

    So, what should be the role of the UN in efforts to resolve the armed conflict between Israel and Palestine? Based on Dina's opinion, if the veto is continuously issued against UN Security Council resolutions, then the UN policy in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is ineffective and the UN cannot make any efforts. Unless UN member states agree to reform the UN system, for example, there is no more veto, and peace mechanisms related to when the United Nations Peacekeeping Force can be deployed.

    Also read: The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict in the Perspective of International Law

    This is our answer, hopefully, you find it useful.

    Legal Basis:

    1. Charter of the United Nations;
    2. United Nations Security Council Resolution 388/1973;
    3. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1276/1999;
    4. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1402/2002;
    5. United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334/2016;
    6. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181/1947;
    7. United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/77/208;
    8. United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/77/247;
    9. United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/ES-10/21.

    Reference:

    1. Ega Nur Cahya. Agresi Israel terhadap Palestina yang Berujung Pelanggaran Hak Asasi Manusia pada Palestina. Jurnal Pendidikan PKN Universitas Tanjungpura, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2022;
    2. I Komang Oka Dananjaya. Kekuatan Mengikat Resolusi Dewan Keamanan PBB dalam Penyelesaian Sengketa Internasional. Jurnal Kertha Wicara Fakultas Hukum Universitas Udayana, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2013;
    3. Muhammad Jamaluddin dan Erik Ilham Habibillah. Pengaruh Kebijakan Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa (PBB) dalam Konflik Palestina-Israel. Jurnal Tapis: Teropong Aspirasi Politik Islam, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2023;
    4. Robert Gilpin. War is Too Important to Be Left to Ideological Amateurs. SAGE Publications, Vol 19 (1): 5–18, 2005;
    5. Sri Setianingsih Suwardi. Pengantar Hukum Organisasi Internasional. Jakarta: UI Press, 2004;
    6. Sumaryo Suryokusumo. Organisasi Internasional. Jakarta: UI Press, 1987;
    7. Wiwin Yulianingsih dan Moch. Firdaus Sholihin. Hukum Organisasi Internasional. Yogyakarta: ANDI, 2014;
    8. United Nations, 5 Permanent Members, accessed on November, 20th 2023, at 23.12 Western Indonesian Time (zone).;
    9. United Nations, List of UN Member States, accessed on November, 20th 2023, at 23.20 Western Indonesian Time (zone).;
    10. United Nations, Main Bodies, accessed on November, 20th 2023, at 00.21 Western Indonesian Time (zone).;
    11. United Nations, United Nations Resolutions, accessed on November, 21st 2023, at 08.20 Western Indonesian Time (zone).

    NB:

    1. We have conducted an interview via Zoom with the lecturer of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of Universitas Padjadjaran, and an expert on international relations in the Middle East and Africa, Dr. Dina Yulianti, S.S., M.Si., on November 8th, 2023, at 15.05 Western Indonesian Time (zone).
    2. We have conducted an interview with the lecturer of the Faculty of Law of Universitas Katolik Parahyangan and an expert on international humanitarian law, Dr. iur Liona Nanang Supriatna, SH, M.Hum., on November 21st, 2023, at 08.50 Western Indonesian Time (zone).

    [1] Sumaryo Suryokusumo. Organisasi Internasional. Jakarta: UI Press, 1987, p. 1

    [2] Sumaryo Suryokusumo. Organisasi Internasional. Jakarta: UI Press, 1987, p. 1

    [3] Wiwin Yulianingsih dan Moch. Firdaus Sholihin. Hukum Organisasi Internasional. Yogyakarta: ANDI, 2014, p. 108

    [4] Sumaryo Suryokusumo. Organisasi Internasional. Jakarta: UI Press, 1987, pp. 9-21

    [5] Article 33 section (1) of the Charter of the United Nations (“UN Charter”)

    [6] Article 11 section (1) of the UN Charter

    [7] Sumaryo Suryokusumo. Organisasi Internasional. Jakarta: UI Press, 1987, p. 17

    [8] Article 14 of the UN Charter

    [9] Sumaryo Suryokusumo. Organisasi Internasional. Jakarta: UI Press, 1987, p. 4

    [10] Sumaryo Suryokusumo. Organisasi Internasional. Jakarta: UI Press, 1987, p. 4

    [11] I Komang Oka Dananjaya. Kekuatan Mengikat Resolusi Dewan Keamanan PBB dalam Penyelesaian Sengketa Internasional. Jurnal Kertha Wicara Fakultas Hukum Universitas Udayana, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2013, p. 3

    [12] Sri Setianingsih Suwardi. Pengantar Hukum Organisasi Internasional. Jakarta: UI Press, 2004, p. 165

    [13] Sumaryo Suryokusumo. Organisasi Internasional. Jakarta: UI Press, 1987, pp. 4-5

    [14] Muhammad Jamaluddin dan Erik Ilham Habibillah. Pengaruh Kebijakan Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa (PBB) dalam Konflik Palestina-Israel. Jurnal Tapis: Teropong Aspirasi Politik Islam, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2023, p. 36

    [15] Ega Nur Cahya. Agresi Israel terhadap Palestina yang Berujung Pelanggaran Hak Asasi Manusia pada Palestina. Jurnal Pendidikan PKN Universitas Tanjungpura, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2022, p. 47

    [16] Muhammad Jamaluddin dan Erik Ilham Habibillah. Pengaruh Kebijakan Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa (PBB) dalam Konflik Palestina-Israel. Jurnal Tapis: Teropong Aspirasi Politik Islam, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2023, p. 42

    [17] Muhammad Jamaluddin dan Erik Ilham Habibillah. Pengaruh Kebijakan Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa (PBB) dalam Konflik Palestina-Israel. Jurnal Tapis: Teropong Aspirasi Politik Islam, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2023, p. 41

    [18] Robert Gilpin. War is Too Important to Be Left to Ideological Amateurs. SAGE Publications, Vol 19 (1): 5–18, 2005, p. 5

    [19] Robert Gilpin. War is Too Important to Be Left to Ideological Amateurs. SAGE Publications, Vol 19 (1): 5–18, 2005, p. 16

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